This time around, we're incorporating elements from the Teen Scene Investigations (TSI) era of the short lived Archie's Mysteries comics and a specific supporting character from Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (1996-2003) into our next story. As per normal, aside from incidentals created for this story, all characters are copyright Archie Comics/Viacom/CBS-Paramount. Chapter 1: February 1973: Crosstown High was closing in on their 5th straight Colonial Alliance title. With 2 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, they led Riverdale by 5 points. Team captain Adam Murphy was content with forcing Riverdale to foul in order to try to cut the deficit. Ron Mantle had other ideas. The senior forward stole an entry pass and laid it in to cut the gap to 3. Another entry pass was intercepted by Moses Clark, whose three-point play tied the game with under 90 seconds to go. Frantic, Crosstown Coach Ben Summerfield called timeout. That didn't help. Clark made another steal, and fed Charles Thomas for the game-winning jumper with 10 seconds left. A Crosstown foul iced the game. Riverdale's upset win, coupled with Clark Corners beating Berkshire High, gave Clark Corners their first league title, as Clark Corners had swept Crosstown in head-to-head matchups. The ramnifications were swift, harsh, and fatal. Two days after the game, coach Summerfield was gunned down in a grocery store parking lot by a hooded gunman who told his victim, "you have a price to pay for failure". That price was the coach's life. A week later, Moses Clark was beaten to death, with his girlfriend, Summer Madison, forced to watch, by six masked men in the same parking lot. By the time store security arrived, Madison was thrown to the blacktop, sobbing. Crosstown principal Stephen Corday and then-Riverdale principal Hal Fleischer both recognized what laid beneath the murders. There was an underground gambling ring operating in the city, focused on high school action. Crosstown was favored by 20, and flushed a 24 point halftime lead, losing by 4. Clark's death came at the start of winter recess, right before a sectional rematch between the two schools, who'd won their first round games. With heavy hearts, they played that game, two days after Clark's funeral, with players on both teams wearing black armbands. Crosstown won the rubber match, 66-65, but was eliminated in the championship game. A month after losing the title game, Corday, serving as acting coach after Summerfield's death, received death threats of his own. He contacted police, who couldn't find the caller or the killers. Four months later, Corday resigned and relocated to Arizona with his wife. Assistant Tom Hanlon was appointed to be the new coach. Life went on, and Crosstown went back to the business of winning league titles. However, there was always the threat of more violence if they lost another game to Riverdale. It seemed the gamblers never considered Riverdale to be in the same class............. February 12, 2013: The traditional Riverdale-Crosstown regular season finale was played at Riverdale City College, a neutral site due to an overflow crowd. This time, the two schools were tied atop the Colonial Alliance standings, with Riverdale having won the first meeting on December 14, 87-83 in overtime. It looked like it was deja vu in the 4th quarter. Crosstown was up 6 with 2 minutes left. Chuck Clayton, the coach's son, hits a 3 pointer to halve the lead. Andy Braddock's entry pass is intercepted by Roger Vickers, who'd transferred to Riverdale at the start of the 2011-12 season. Vickers finds Clayton in the corner. A 3 point shot rims out, but Archie Andrews, of all people, cleans up the rebound and tips it home to trim the lead to 1. 45 seconds left. Dan Braddock, Crosstown's coach, calls timeout. His son, Andy, has to come out of the game with a sprained ankle. His other son, Marc, is injured, having suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the home opener on December 11. Again, the timeout avails naught. Andrews hits Vickers with an alley-oop pass for the game winner, and Riverdale sweeps the season series for the first time in school history. After the game, a group of men tried to tip over the Riverdale team bus, angered over the result. However, Superteen, a member of the United Three, intercepted the mob, and drew their attention, right into the arms of the police. As the masked maiden flew away, Lt. Nelson Pierce had a satisfied smile on his face. "We'd gotten a tip that there was a new numbers racket in town on high school hoops.", he said, "And wouldn't you know, you made our job easier." Crosstown, having won 8 in a row after losing to Riverdale the first time, was favored by 15 by the underground bookies. Again, there was the threat of collateral damage. 2 days later, three masked men approached the Braddock house, guns drawn. One knocked on the door, and raised his gun. The door opened, revealing---surprise, surprise---Mighty Moose, another of Riverdale's secret defenders. He turned the guns into twisted metal and plastic, and clocked the three men before they could mount a defense. "Holy Hannah!", Marc Braddock exclaimed. "Looks like you were right about a possible attack!" "I didn't do the research, but Superteen did, and she said I had to be here.", Mighty Moose replied as Andy Braddock called the police. "Looks like she made the right call." Allan Colbert, Mickey Colson, and Dennis Shear were arrested and charged with menacing and harrassement, as well as possession of illegal firearms. Worse, some of the booking sheets were in Shear's possession, giving the police their first lead in locating the gambling ring. However, once again, the gamblers went deeper into ground, and the betting was suspended. Again. February 11, 2014: Amid threats of violence after the two teams split two early meetings, including Riverdale beating Crosstown to win their own Thanksgiving tournament, with Crosstown returning the favor and snapping a 3 game losing streak two weeks later, Riverdale City College hosted the annual season finale for the 2nd straight year. It was appearing to be another repeat, only this time it was Crosstown needing to rally, down 3 with 2:45 left. Marc Braddock tied it with a 3 pointer with 90 seconds left, then stole an entry pass to put Crosstown up by 2. Crosstown applied a full court press, but Vickers hit a 3 pointer to put Riverdale back up by 1. 25 seconds remained, and coach Harry Clayton called timeout. Now, it was Riverdale with the full court press. Vickers made a steal, then set for another three pointer. As the ball left his hands, a shot rang out from the bleachers. The ball went through the basket as time expired, but Vickers collapsed on the court. A collective gasp rose from the crowd, as players from both teams converged on the scene. EMTs were on the court in seconds, and Vickers was taken to the hospital, clutching his ribs, right where the bullet struck. Twin sister Regina, a cheerleader, left in the ambulance with her brother and Coach Clayton. ================================================================== "He'll live, and he can walk. The bullet went through his rib cage, but didn't cut into his spinal cord.", Dr. Aubrey McNally said later that night. "He probably won't play again this season." "He's a senior, same as his sister.", Chuck Clayton said. "This meant everything to him." "But who would do such a thing?", Regina cried. "Same guys that tried to kill my father and me a year ago.", Marc Braddock said as he and Andy entered the emergency room. "This means the gamblers took another bath." "And when the cops come after them, they'll run and hide like they did before.", Regina fumed. "They think they can decide who wins games. It should be left to the players on the court, just as it was tonight." "I agree.", Marc replied. "They're leeching off both teams, and they have a particular dislike for Riverdale. Don't know why, but that's just how it is." "What I can't figure", Coach Clayton put in, "is how they got the rifle into the building, through security." "I understand TSI is looking into that, dad.", Chuck said. ================================================================ Meanwhile, Archie, along with Reggie Mantle, had gone to the locker room after Roger Vickers had been taken to the hospital, changed into their street clothes, and, with the permission of the police and RCC officials, stayed on with cheerleaders Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge to investigate. Reggie had talked his way into acquiring the security tape, hoping to find the identity of the shooter and how he got the rifle into the building. "I hate to say it, but I can't believe this is really happening, 41 years after my grandfather had a hand in Riverdale beating Crosstown to cost them the league title.", Reggie said. "None of this should be happening at all." "If we can find the person behind this, Reg, and get to the roots of the gambling ring that's been around since the 70's, this will all finally come to an end.", Archie replied. "I think Dilton needs to see the tape in the morning." =================================================================== The next day, at Riverdale High, boy scientist Dilton Doiley and assistant principal Thomas Kraft examined the tape with the rest of the TSI team. Principal Waldo Weatherbee was out of town and would remain so, as a snowstorm was headed for Riverdale, which would conceivably wipe out TSI's chances of finding the shooter before the playoffs begin. However, in another part of town, there were some very concerned men meeting at an undisclosed location. "Vickers'll live.", a man said. "I only intended to scare the kid, not try to kill him." "Oh? Those kids have the security tapes. They can identify you, and we can't have that.", a second man said. "You've become expendable." "Wait a minute, man. I was out of there before the cops arrived. They'd never be able to find me on that tape." "Don't be so sure." The next morning, Dennis Shear's body was found in a dumpster not far from Crosstown High. Collateral damage taken again. =================================================================== So how does Sabrina fit into all this? You'll see in chapter 2.